Empire of the Cutlet

It wasn't, after all, the day that the steaks began to leave London's fridges and attack that made Traven sit on the edge of his bed and stare at his hands. Rather, it was the memory of Cecily's passing and the sight of a miniature hot-air balloon that rose from her grave, with a hot dog (bun-less) in the basket slung underneath it. Yes.

He'd seen that hot-air balloon and the menacing frank again. Every time he went out, whether it was for a paper or for a cup of coffee, he knew that the striped balloon and its meaty pilot were following, at a short distance, hovering in shadows that grew deeper day by day. Once he turned around and just saw the balloon stealing around a corner at top speed - and he was certain, somehow, that the hot dog was wearing a beret.

Traven was not given to idees fixe on the topic of lunch-y meats. As he sat there, that last day, staring at his hands, he succeeded in removing all meat thoughts from his mind: he thought about the clouds, about the gleam on a just-washed fork and spoon, about Cecily.